A new clinical trial funded by Cancer Research UK has found that administering chemotherapy before surgery can significantly reduce the risk of colon cancer recurrence. The FOxTROT trial was led by scientists from the University of Birmingham and the University of Leeds and involved 1,053 colon cancer patients from 85 hospitals across the UK, Denmark, and Sweden. The trial demonstrated that providing six weeks of chemotherapy before surgery can reduce the risk of cancer returning within two years by 28%.
The trial divided colon cancer patients into two groups. The first group received six weeks of chemotherapy before surgery, followed by 18 weeks of chemotherapy after surgery, while the second group received standard treatment of surgery first followed by 24 weeks of chemotherapy. Researchers found that patients who had chemotherapy before surgery were less likely to see their cancer return than those who received all their chemotherapy after surgery.
The FOxTROT trial’s results suggest that administering chemotherapy before surgery is a cost-effective way of treating colon cancer, potentially saving many lives worldwide. At least 5,000 colon cancer patients in the UK and hundreds of thousands of patients globally could benefit from this treatment every year. Dr. Parvez David Haque, Professor and Head of Surgery at Christian Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana, stated that “timing is everything when it comes to treating colon cancer. The simple act of bringing forward chemotherapy, giving it before instead of after surgery, delivers some remarkable results.”
Thanks to funding from Cancer Research UK, doctors around the world will be able to implement these findings into clinical practice, saving many lives. The FOxTROT trial’s results could transform cancer care worldwide, particularly in low- and middle-income countries where cancer treatments are often prohibitively expensive.